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Sports / Soccer

'Gukurahundi' Army wades into Bosso, Dembare issue

by Staff reporter
18 May 2017 at 07:10hrs | Views
Zimbabwe National Army's sports arm have added their voice and condemned hooliganism at football matches following the ugly incident that spoiled the high-profile Castle Lager Premiership tie between Highlanders and Dynamos at Barbourfields last Sunday.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony of football equipment donated to the defence forces by ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday, Brigadier Tendai Elliot Dzirutwe said the army, which has used sport as a public relations tool to reach out to the population, was disturbed by the incidents witnessed in Bulawayo.

The match between the country's biggest teams was abandoned after 42 minutes when some Bosso fans took the law into their hands and rained missiles on match officials.

The fans were unhappy with DeMbare's equaliser which they felt had been scored from an offside position.

"Football is, as Pele and those who love football say, a beautiful game and we also get worried when we see scenes of hooliganism such as the one that recently took place at Barbourfields during the match between Highlanders and Dynamos,'' said Dzirutwe.

"It's not good for our football.

"As the Zimbabwe National Army we believe in discipline. We don't condone hooliganism, we don't like such behaviour and we do not like to see violence. Where there should be entertainment let there be entertainment. That's our take.''

Highlanders have since been summoned to appear before a PSL hearing next Tuesday.

Dzirutwe hailed the initiative by ZIFA to spread the game across the country by donating equipment to be used by various teams.

The army have 41 teams which are expected to benefit from the equipment donated yesterday.

Premiership side Black Rhinos are the only army side in the top-flight league while the soldiers have six clubs in the four ZIFA regional leagues.

These include Nesbert "Yabo'' Saruchera's Cranborne Bullets who are in the ZIFA Northern Region Division One league, Tongogara (Central Region), Indlovu Iyanyathela (Southern) and the trio of Buffaloes, Four Lions and Mukanya FC are in the Eastern Region.

Dzirutwe said they also have 33 teams in the lower divisions and two female sides.

The teams in the lower divisions are administered by the different army units across the country.

"We are indeed grateful to note that our contribution to the development of football in Zimbabwe has not gone unnoticed. We are very happy with this.

"Indeed the donation of equipment will impact positively to the growth of sport in the ZNA and of course in the country.

"I would also want to assure you that the equipment will be put to good use. Receiving this donation has actually eased some of our challenges.

"You know we all have our challenges. I am providing this equipment to all our football teams.

"This donation, therefore, will make it possible for our teams to achieve their goals. We are capable of producing very good football players like we did in the past. Remember the Black Rhinos of yesteryear used to walk on water, so to speak.

"So we are saying given this equipment we will definitely do our best to produce high quality players. Sport in the army is a public relations tool as it creates a platform for interaction with the general population. On the field of play there are no soldiers, we are all players. We get to know each other better and there should be better rapport across the divide," said Dzirutwe.

ZIFA boss Chiyangwa has outlined a vision in which he would want the national game to harness the talent in the security sector.

He has so far donated equipment to the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

Yesterday it was the turn of the ZNA to benefit from Chiyangwa's initiative, which is also in line with the Football Forward Programme that aims to capacitate clubs and institutions that are involved in the development of the game.

"This exercise is purely to capacitate the security sector and then tap into the talents from the defence forces from Under-15 level right up to the seniors.

"It must be recalled that the defence forces have disciplined and committed athletes and there should be nothing that should stop our national teams from benefiting from the talented players who would have been spotted in their teams,'' Chiyangwa said.

Apart from clubs in the Premiership and lower division leagues, the army also has a number of schools which they directly administer and Chiyangwa is confident that through such capacity building programmes like the one he has started, the ZNA and other defence forces would also provide talent to the Young Warriors.

Chiyangwa reckoned that domestic football would soon reap the rewards of ZIFA's initiative to spread the talent identification exercise to the defence forces.

The Harare businessman also revealed he would soon roll out a programme to equip junior and women's teams across the country's four football regions.

With the COSAFA Castle Cup draw having been conducted on Tuesday, Chiyangwa challenged the Warriors to turn on a better show in the tournament, which runs in South Africa's North West province from June 25 to July 9.

"It would be nice to see my team also doing well at the tournament,'' Chiyangwa, who is also the COSAFA boss, said.



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